Many residents who want to change the way Everett districts are represented on the City Council recently posted signs in their yards throughout the city, such as this one on Colby Avenue. (Sue Misao / Herald file)

Many residents who want to change the way Everett districts are represented on the City Council recently posted signs in their yards throughout the city, such as this one on Colby Avenue. (Sue Misao / Herald file)

Everett voters to decide whether to create council districts

The City Council has unanimously agreed to put the proposed change on the November ballot.

EVERETT — After more than a year of meetings, discussion and public comment, voters in November will have the choice to change the way the Everett City Council is elected.

The council voted 7-0 in favor of a districting proposal Wednesday night.

There are seven seats on the council. All are drawn from at-large elections. The city’s ordinance will put a measure on the fall ballot asking if the council should adjust so that most of those positions are elected from geographical districts.

It also presents two districting methods to choose from. Option A would include five positions elected from council districts, with two at-large. Option B would offer four district seats and three at-large.

Councilwoman Brenda Stonecipher made a motion for the council to remove the 4-3 option.

She cited a city survey that asked for districting feedback. The results showed of the 483 participants, 74 percent supported five or more geographic seats.

Councilwoman Judy Tuohy seconded the motion. It failed 5-2.

Everett Districts Now is an independent group working on a districting measure of its own. The organization has long campaigned for at least five seats to be elected from districts.

In June, the council accepted some amendments to its measure presented by Everett Districts Now. That marked the first time the two groups had worked together on one proposal.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Greg Lineberry, a member of Everett Districts Now, said he “greatly appreciates” the council’s inclusion of its adjustments.

“We still believe the five districts model is the best fit for Everett,” Lineberry said. “With that said … it really is up to the voters to decide on the matter.”

Megan Dunn, an organizer for Everett Districts Now, said group members will meet Sunday to discuss whether they will continue working on a separate ballot measure.

“We don’t want to make it any more confusing for voters,” she said.

Everett Districts Now needs about 3,500 signature by noon Monday for its proposal to qualify for the November ballot.

Dunn said the group had about 3,000 signatures as of Tuesday and is continuing to collect them.

Karen Madsen, president of the League of Women Voters of Snohomish County, said the group still supports the 5-2 model but is glad to see Everett Districts Now and the council working together.

“This is the best kind of collaboration between elected officials and those who elected them,” Madsen said at the meeting.

If the council’s ballot proposal passes, district elections will begin in 2021.

Joseph Thompson: 425-339-3430; jthompson @heraldnet.com. Twitter: @JoeyJThomp.

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